Army sergeant convicted of murder shared racist thoughts and hopes of killing protesters online

Daniel Perry was convicted this month of murdering Air Force veteran Garrett Foster at a protest in 2020.
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Daniel Perry, the U.S. Army sergeant convicted this month of murdering a protester in 2020 regularly expressed racist and violent views including desires to shoot and kill activists, newly unsealed court documents show.

The documents, first reported on by the Houston Chronicle, were released on Thursday, April 13 and reveal Islamophobic and racist and social media posts and messages. Perry also revealed a desire to kill people taking part in the 2020 racial justice protests brought on by the murder of George Floyd. Perry was convicted on April 7 for murdering Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran who was taking part in the protests in Austin, Texas in 2020. 

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The records show messages and posts going back to 2019, with Perry sharing racist memes denigrating Black Americans, anti-Muslim comments and repeated statements saying he wanted to attack and kill protesters. He posted in 2019 complaining that the military “can’t get paid for hunting Muslims in Europe.” After protests erupted in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, Perry posted about wanting to go to Dallas to shoot people. 

At the time, Perry was assigned to Fort Hood. He drove to Austin on July 25, ostensibly to work a side job as a rideshare driver. He ran a red light and drove his car into a crowd of protestors. Foster, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran, was among that group and was legally open carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. Witnesses said that Foster did not raise his rifle, but Perry claimed he did and shot him with a handgun, killing him. Perry and Foster are both white. Perry would not be indicted until a year later. He was found guilty of murder, but not guilty of aggravated assault. 

Perry’s conviction made him one of the latest active-duty service members or veterans to be investigated or prosecuted for ties to extremist actions or plots. Earlier this month a Special Forces veteran was sentenced to seven years in prison for possessing classified information and illegal weapons, discovered while investigating his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Another man was sentenced to life in prison for killing a deputy during an attempt to start a second civil war in 2020, when he was serving as an active-duty Air Force sergeant. An active-duty Army soldier was sentenced to 45 years in prison as part of a foiled Neo-Nazi plot to attack troops at a base in Turkey. The military has been investigating extremism within the ranks for several years and has taken some steps to try and weed out extremists during recruitment. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed plans to pardon Perry earlier this month, tweeting the day after Perry’s conviction that he is “working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry.” 

Perry has not been sentenced yet. He faces five years to life in prison.

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